RESIDENTS on the Pairc Estate on the isle of Lewis have voted by more than two-to-one to proceed with a community buyout of the land.
A ballot was held to find the view of the community in the long-running effort to buy the estate from absentee landlord Barry Lomas.
Crofters launched the first ever hostile takeover several years ago and, following a lengthy court battle, the owner decided to offer the estate to the community in an amicable deal.
A postal ballot was carried out by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on the terms of an amicable estate transfer.
The result saw 166 resident vote (68 per cent) in favour of a buyout, with 77 against (32 per cent). There was a 62 per cent turnout.
Chairman of Pairc Trust Angus McDowall said: ‘This is a major step forward in our efforts to bring Pairc Estate into community ownership, which have been ongoing for over a decade.
“Now that the terms negotiated with the landlord for an amicable transfer of the Estate have been endorsed by the community, we will proceed to conclude Missives and register title to the Estate as soon as possible.
“We have all the funding for the purchase in place, but it will take several weeks before we can take ownership because of the need for a detailed map of the Estate to be finalised so that title can be registered by Registers of Scotland.
“We will now be convening community meetings over the summer to refresh our plans for developing the Estate to create more local jobs, improve community facilities, and help reverse a century of population decline.”
He added: “I should like to thank everyone, in the community and much further afield, who has supported our consistent aim over many years of bringing the benefits of community ownership to Pairc.
“We are not there yet until all the legal technicalities have been completed, but we can now look forward with confidence to the start of a new era in Pairc.”